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Fri Jul 10, 2015, 03:19 AM

Locked Up for Surviving: The Untold Story of the Sexual-Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline


A harrowing new study finds that young girls' responses to sexual and physical abuse are systematically criminalized in the United States, with survivors funneled into juvenile detention centers where they are exposed to further trauma, replicating cycles of gendered violence that disproportionately impact children of color.

Jointly released by the Human Rights Project for Girls, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Ms. Foundation for Women, the title of the study suggests this trend is so pronounced it deserves its own term: The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls' Story.

"Girls, especially marginalized girls, are rendered invisible when we talk about juvenile justice and mass incarceration, which is often in the context of men and boys of color," Yasmin Vafa, co-founder and director of law and policy for the Human Rights Project for Girls, told Common Dreams. "Our hope with this report is to illuminate the hidden lives of girls behind bars and recognize that many are survivors of sexual abuse, violence, and rape."

According to the study, a history of abuse is not just a predictor of future incarceration for girls—it is a cause.

"The common justifications for girls' arrests are minor offenses such as running away, substance abuse, and truancy—all of which are common responses to abuse," states the study. "The connection between the sexual abuse of girls and their ultimate incarceration is not coincidental; sexual abuse is a direct, contributing cause of their detention."

Girls of color are disproportionately locked up within the U.S. juvenile system. While youth of color comprise 45 percent of the general population of young people, girls of color account for roughly two-thirds of girls who are incarcerated. African Americans constitute 14 percent of the youth population, but account for a third of incarcerated girls, the study finds.

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Reply Locked Up for Surviving: The Untold Story of the Sexual-Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline (Original post)
eridani Jul 2015 OP
gollygee Jul 2015 #1

Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Jul 10, 2015, 08:35 AM

1. Sad but not surprising

We've seen judges call underage girls responsible for their own rapes because they are "mature beyond their years" or overly sexual for their age. How do these judges think that happens? Once a girl is raped and as a result acts more sexual, she gets defined in a new way and seems to lose a number of her rights. It's horrifyingly sad.

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